TO_CHAR (number)



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Description of the illustration to_char_number.gif


TO_CHAR (number) converts n to a value of VARCHAR2 datatype, using the optional number format fmt. The value n can be of type NUMBER, BINARY_FLOAT, or BINARY_DOUBLE. If you omit fmt, then n is converted to a VARCHAR2 value exactly long enough to hold its significant digits.

If n is negative, then the sign is applied after the format is applied. Thus TO_CHAR(-1, '$9') returns -$1, rather than $-1.

Refer to "Format Models" for information on number formats.

The 'nlsparam' argument specifies these characters that are returned by number format elements:

  • Decimal character

  • Group separator

  • Local currency symbol

  • International currency symbol

This argument can have this form:

   NLS_CURRENCY = ''text''
   NLS_ISO_CURRENCY = territory '

The characters d and g represent the decimal character and group separator, respectively. They must be different single-byte characters. Within the quoted string, you must use two single quotation marks around the parameter values. Ten characters are available for the currency symbol.

If you omit 'nlsparam' or any one of the parameters, then this function uses the default parameter values for your session.


The following statement uses implicit conversion to combine a string and a number into a number:

SELECT TO_CHAR('01110' + 1) FROM dual;


Compare this example with the first example for TO_CHAR (character).

In the next example, the output is blank padded to the left of the currency symbol.

SELECT TO_CHAR(-10000,'L99G999D99MI') "Amount"


SELECT TO_CHAR(-10000,'L99G999D99MI',
   NLS_CURRENCY = ''AusDollars'' ') "Amount"


In the optional number format fmt, L designates local currency symbol and MI designates a trailing minus sign. See Table 2-17, "Matching Character Data and Format Models with the FX Format Model Modifier" for a complete listing of number format elements.